Changes in brain activity during language learning in adults measured by magnetoencephalography
Bastarrika Iriarte, Ainhoa
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The main goal of this thesis was to characterize language-related short-term learning changes in the adult brain. Previous studies have mainly used longitudinal and cross-sectional designs and therefore they captured brain responses of already consolidated rules. On the other hand, studies that used on line or lab training, and therefore captured short-term changes, were conducted in EEG and provided no source correlates related to these changes. However, short-term and long-term learning seem to elicit different plastic changes hence, the anatomical-correlates of the MEG experiments carried out in this thesis would provide useful information to better understand which plastic changes occur in short-term learning. Subsets of natural languages (miniature languages) were used in two of the experiments in order to study short-term changes. It was hypothesized that miniature languages allow to capture language-related changes without the need of course-like long-lasting training. The third experiment was a memory task in participants' native language, and aimed to provide a better understanding of physiological memory functions, especially the role of oscillations in memory retrieval. Therefore, this thesis opens a door to a new way of studying L2 learning, providing anatomical correlates of short-term language related brain changes.